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K-State Today

July 13, 2018

John Blair named director of Konza Prairie Biological Station

Submitted by Division of Biology

John Blair

John Blair, university distinguished professor of biology, has been named the director of Kansas State University's Konza Prairie Biological Station. Blair's appointment begins on July 16, and follows the retirement of John Briggs, who served as the station director from 2008-2018.

Konza Prairie Biological Station is a 3,480-hectare tallgrass prairie preserve that serves as an ecological laboratory for faculty and students at Kansas State University and visiting researchers from around the world. Konza Prairie was established in 1971 to support research, education and prairie conservation. It is jointly owned by Kansas State University and The Nature Conservancy, and managed by the K-State Division of Biology with support from the K-State Agricultural Experimental Station. Since 1980, research at the station has been funded continuously by the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research program, as well as numerous grants from a range of federal agencies. It also is a core site for the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network.

Blair joined the Division of Biology faculty in 1992 and was named a university distinguished professor in 2006. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America. Blair's research focuses on biogeochemistry, soil processes and plant productivity in grasslands, and the ecological consequences of global changes, including climate change, land-use/land-cover change and elevated nutrient deposition. He is the author of more than 120 journal articles, proceedings papers and book chapters.

Blair's research has been supported by $39 million in grants from multiple agencies including the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture. He led the Konza Prairie LTER program from 1999-2017 and will continue to serve as a co-investigator on that project in addition to providing administrative oversight for the station.